DVD Round-Up: 'Hunger Games,' 'Doctor Who,' 'TMNT'
Week of August 14th
Published: 08/12/2012 09:52pm
This week’s top-selling home entertainment release will undoubtedly be The Hunger Games (Lionsgate, "PG-13," $30.98, BD $39.99). With The Avengers (and soon The Dark Knight Rises) having passed The Hunger Games, it is easy to forget the most successful Q1 release ever. The movie adaptation of the first book in Suzanne Collins’ bestselling YA novel series earned a superb $409 million at the domestic box office and should do exceptionally well on disc. It’s rare that a new "franchise" gets off to such an auspicious start and with a built-in fan base from the novels it is hard to see how this series can falter. Director Gary Ross is departing and won’t helm the sequel, but that may be addition by subtraction since the Ross-sanctioned shaky camerawork is the worst thing about this bizarre dystopian saga that owes more than a little to Battle Royale.
The fake teenage hell of The Hunger Games can’t hold a candle to the real teenage hell of the West Memphis Three, teens who spent 18 years in prison for a horrific crime that they did not commit. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (Docurama, Not Rated, $29.95) is a 2011 documentary, the third in a series that played a significant role in the eventual release of the trio. This third installment tracks their final days in prison and their release after a long and grueling legal battle.
TV on DVD
There are some high profile contemporary TV series due this week including Dexter: The Sixth Season (Showtime, $54.99, BD $65.99), the popular cable show about a "sympathetic" serial killer who works in a forensics lab, Glee: The Complete Third Season (Fox, $59.98, BD $69.99), as well as the quirky single-camera sitcom Community: The Complete Third Season (Sony, $45.99).
New 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Toon Debut Set" for a look at the new more martial arts-oriented iteration of the TMNT), this could be the perfect time to check out the original cartoon series that made the quartet of heroes on the half-shell worldwide stars. As a special bonus this release includes two episodes from the Fifth Season, "Once Upon a Time Machine," and "Planet of the Turtleoids," which have never been released before on DVD.
Also of great interest to fans of TV cartoon shows is Angry Beavers: Season 3, Part 2 (Shout Factory, 240 min., $19.93), the series created by Mitch Schauer that debuted on Nickelodeon in 1997 and lasted for four seasons. Those who watched this series know that it is certainly no "pile of spoot."
Power Rangers completists might consider The Might Morphin’ Power Rangers Seasons 1-7 (TimeLife, 6690 min., $219.95), which covers various iterations of the live-action super group from "Mighty Morphin'" to "Lost Galaxy."
Also new this week is This Boy Can Fight Aliens! (Sentai Filmworks, "13+," 28 min., $19.98, BD $24.98), an 28-minute OAV about a 15 year-old boy, who has lost his memory, but who may be mankind’s only hope to fend off an alien invasion.
There is a cornucopia of re-priced re-releases this week led by the One Piece DVD Collection 7 Uncut (Funimation, "14+," 625 min., $34.98), which includes episodes 157-182 of the popular pirate anime saga. Also due this week are the Ah! My Buddha Nirvana Collection (Animeworks, "13+," 650 min., $19.99), the Dojin Work Complete Collection (Animeworks, "13+," 300 min., $19.99), the Nighthead Genesis Complete Collection (Animeworks, "13+," 600 min., $19.99), and the Trinity Blood Complete Series (FUNimation, "17+," 600 min. $39.98).
Classics on Blu-ray
Kino’s 2-disc Blu-ray box of Les Vampires brings to North America the Cinematheque Francaise's superlative restoration of the silent classic that features very sharp images throughout and comes complete with tinting and an excellent score. Les Vampires is a true cinema classic that had a profound influence on the films of Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock, but watching it in one sitting is definitely a tough go for modern audiences. Feuillade’s film has none of the cross-cutting, moving camera, and technical mastery of other films of the era like D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation and its pace can seem glacial to contemporary audiences at times. Feuillade’s genius lies in his surrealistic plotting (Luis Bunuel cites him as a major influence) and in his penchant for remarkably bizarre imagery, especially the shots of Musidora as the Irma Vep, the most deadly and elusive member of Les Vampires, who skyrocketed to fame with audiences during World War I and remains fetching in her one-piece catsuit almost hundred years later.
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial staff of ICv2.
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